New Ravelli RV100 Classic self-install and photos

PelletPractitioner

New Member
Oct 4, 2018
96
Connecticut, USA
Disclaimer:

What follows is a long rambling of a newbie's first pellet stove install. I hadn't used or owned a power tool (drill not included) since 7th grade shop.

This will be pretty basic and uninteresting info for most people, but I loved reading project/install posts this past summer when I was researching. So hopefully someone else finds this useful, too.

Parts Used:
  • DuraVent PelletVent Pro - Ravelli appliance adapter (absolutely needed this; the standard size didn't fit); 24" pipe; 12" pipe; 45 degree terminator; thimble with outside air intake. All 3"
  • Permatex High-Temp Red RT Gasket Maker. This is "RTV 500 Silicon" that the manual called for.
  • Indoor/outdoor silicon caulk and chepo caulk gun
  • Basic tools: drywall saw, Makita jigsaw, tin snips, drill, stud finder, gloves, goggles, ventilator
  • 27 3" circular furniture sliders from Lowes
  • Black high-temp grill spray paint so my venting didn't look like a zebra tail sticking out of my house.
  • 2' x 4' 3/4" plywood to stabilize the step ladder
  • Wife for holding things and lining up the thimble
  • Kidde Night Hawk CO Detectors x 3 . Didn't want to skimp here. Measures down to 11ppm with digital display. 24 max-value memory. One by the stove, one by the bedrooms, one in the basement.
  • 4-pack of Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze New England-style IPA.
Motivation:

This year we purchased our first pellet stove, right after purchasing our first home. It has electric heat, and back-of-the-envelope calculations showed we would be spending $4500/year on electric heat paying $.21kw/hr. The goal of this purchase was really to save money on heat.

The dealer wanted $1300 for delivery and install. For delivery, a hole in the wall, and a straight-out vent. On principle as much as finances, that motivated me to buy some power tools and grow my DIY skill. After all, I could do that WAY cheaper and I would get to keep the power tools!

I figure if I got a permit from the town building department and was careful, I couldn't mess up too badly...

The Purchase:

We have a 1970, 1600sqft split level ranch, 1100sqft on the upper level. They tried to sell us on the Francesca (8.500 - 35.000BTU). It was on sale for $2000. We liked the small size and appearance. Lowest pellet feed rate was 1lb/hr. Hopper was only 33lbs. What turned us off was the lower BTU, and a really, really annoying pellet feed motor. The RV100's motor was almost inaudible in comparison. It produces an extra 10k BTU, and it can hold a full bag of pellets at 55lbs. It has a smaller footprint at around 25" x 25". It's also going in our living room, so we wanted something that wouldn't look too out-of-place. Programmable timer, high/low/auto/off modes and an external thermostat were must-have features on our list. At the lowest setting it would consume 1.3lbs of pellets per hour. about 25% less than many other name brands. The ash bin was muuuuch bigger on RV100 vs RV80s and Francesca. Also muuuch easier to remove. The RV80 innards were essentially the noisy Francesca, the sales person told us. The RV100 was their "top of the line" with their best parts.

So after 2 weeks, visiting 3 dealers, and compiling a spreadsheet with 22 rows and 15 columns of specs, we went with the RV100 Classic. We also liked the Lopi Deerfield. I decided against buying used as this would be my first pellet stove and I didn't know what to look for, or have the time to fix it up and learn before winter. The parents steered us away from Home Depot & mail order stoves because of lack of support should it break down.

After much debate about where to place it: upstairs (living room, kitchen, bath, 3 beds) or down (family room), we decided on upstairs. It was tempting to try to heat the entire house from the basement, and while some people have had success, others haven't. We didn't want to make such a large investment only to be cold upstairs. In a few years we plan on adding a wood insert downstairs in the family room.

I also built the hearth pad to save another $400 and learn how to lay tile, but I'll put that in another post.

Actual Install:

We wanted it in the center of that side of the house so it would blow straight down the middle, past the kitchen, bath, and toward the bedrooms. That meant it had to be vented 1' from the three seasons room (possible with OAK), and 6" from an outlet. This was my first time cutting a hole in the wall for anything and I was a little anxious as you can't just undo a hole in your wall or cut lines. No backup to restore from.

I cut a small hole after turning off power to the entire house, using a manual drywall saw. I didn't want to use power tools as I didn't want to accidentally slice through a stud or wire. I felt around inside and verified the electric was installed vertically in the stud bay down from the attic. Perfect. Stud location was also great.

They delivered to my living room, onto the hearth pad. Furniture sliders under the hearth pad. My wife and I won't be able to lift it, and we have no neighbors to help either, so this was a critical detail.

After weeks of watching youtube videos and reading this forum, it was time to cut out a hole in the wall.

The inside was easy to cut open. The insulation was a quick job for the drywall saw. I drilled holes through to the outside, then used a jigsaw to finish the hole from the outside. It took two or three tries of cutting, hooking up thimble and vents, sliding stove into position, undoing, and trying again, before it was the perfect height.

Cutting the vinyl siding was the hardest part. I've seen people install over the siding, but I wanted a good seal without gaps. Learning on the job, a utility knife was about as effective as a butter knife would have been. It turns out tin snips are what people often use. Did I want left-handed or right-handed? 7th grade shop was blurry, so I watched youtube videos with the guy at TruValue and decided on a right-handed version, thinking it would be easy to reverse. It wasn't, so I went back for a left-handed pair. And half-ruined both cutting through the overlapping bit of vinyl -- 3 layers. Absolute pain. It was 40 degrees out that day. Both the siding and my hands were stiff and cold. Not sure if there was an easier way to do this.

Installing the thimble and vent pipe absolutely takes two people. One side will be falling off as you try to push on the other. The fit was a bit tight so I used a pliers to slightly bend in the rim of the inner thimble's piece.

Went to bed. It rained. Oh no... should have checked the forecast. Didn't caulk the outside yet... luckily it was light rain and that side of the house was pretty dry.

Woke up, hardware store for screws and indoor/outdoor silicon caulk. Screwed the thimble into place using regular wood screws on the outside and small screws on the inside. Caulked the crap out of it. I actually didn't use drywall anchors for the inside piece as the thimble already felt sturdy, and I was too lazy to unplug the stove slide it out, measure and drill more holes for the anchors. The screw driver barely fit between the back of the stove and the wall the way it was.

Operation:

Load in the free bag of Lingetic pellets, power it on, and hold my breath. She works! Crack open a beer. I spend a good hour in amazement that I can press a button on a remote to start a fire in my living room. Prehistoric technology meets microchips.

I found the fan noise of even the lowest setting quite loud, let alone medium or high. About twice as loud as the dealer's show room. Information on that and other Ravelli-specific details are in the Ravelli RV100's Owner's Thread. I was able to resolve that by getting into the dealer-only menu.

Touch pad is a giant pain in the butt to operate. I can handle ugly looks, but the thing only has three buttons (including on/off), is slow, and sometimes doesn't register button presses. You have to hold down two buttons to go back on the menu. But I knew that getting into it. The plan is to hook it up to a programmable thermostat eventually. The menu works well enough for basic on/off temp/power functions.

Pellets:

I didn't know what to buy and didn't have much time to research or sample, so I went with what I thought were quality pellets from http://ctpellet.com . After calling 8 places and compiling another spreadsheet, the lowest price I could find in late August was $259 for hammers.

I ended up getting one ton of each
  • $309 Barefoot and Beautiful. That's the real name. The "and Beautiful" part distinguishes the 25lb bags from the 40lb bags.
  • $289 Okanagan Super Premium Platinum (how many more adjectives can you fit in a name?)
  • $309 Super Spruce Softwood
  • $65 discounted delivery to the garage
On reflection, the only pellets that aren't Super are the Barefoots, but hey at least they are Beautiful.

$982 total. I was hoping to scrape by below $800. Maybe next season if I order early.

All came dry, very well covered, and delivered to the exact locations I had marked out in duct tape.

Estimated Cost:
  • $200 delivery inside of house
  • $190 venting
  • $20 caulk, screws, etc
  • $180 jigsaw, drywall saw
  • $14 Voodoo Ranger Purple Haze IPA 4-pack
  • $604 total
But I like thinking of it as my dealer telling me: "We have a special promotion! Normal installation is $1300, but we'll knock off $700 AND give you a FREE jigsaw worth $170 and 4 FREE pints of craft IPA if you do the work for us."

Takeaways:
  • Furniture sliders under the hearth pad were invaluable for moving the stove during the install
  • A jigsaw or reciprocating saw is absolutely required. It sliced through all 8 layers of my wall like butter
  • Tinsnips cut vinyl, but there might be a better way

Summary:
  • 2 days / 15 hours
  • 6 trips to the hardware store
  • $900 saved on installation (minus tools)
  • $2500 estimated savings on heating bill
  • < 2 years projected payback
  • Gained practical knowledge about jigsaws, cutting holes in things, caulk, venting, fire codes
  • 2 new friends in the town's building department from all of my visits
  • Gained knowledge: jigsaws and cutting things, BTU and heat loss calculations

The self-install was totally worth it. Now to wait for winter and see how the stove performs.
 

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PelletPractitioner

New Member
Oct 4, 2018
96
Connecticut, USA
Did you check with local codes on teh distance needed away from a window?
Yep. The building department here is easy and said they don't have any special regulations; just follow the installation manual. Installation manual says 1' or more when using the outside air kit. It's 4' without the kit.

It's 1' from the side of the house, and about 2' below the window. The window closes and we don't go out there in the winter.
 

Pelleting In NJ

Minister of Fire
Sep 26, 2011
547
Central NJ
Congrats, nice stove and nice install. I have a Ravelli/Ecotek stove for 7 years now, burning 2 to 3 tons of pellets a year. Good quality quiet stoves.

For combined surge protection and the ability for the stove to run-through short AC power interruptions, which will prevent the possibility of smoke backing-up into the house if the combustion blower stops and you still have pellets burning in the firepot, get a Cyberpower Pure Sine Wave model CP1500PFCLCD ($200), or the smaller CP1350PFCLCD ($180). These will be able to run the stove for about 20 or 30 minutes, enough time for you to push the shut-down button.

For fool-proof protection, I wired a latching relay in series with the auger motor, so that when the AC power is lost, the auger is automatically stopped, and the stove can burn off the remaining pellets in the firepot, while the combustion blower continues to run for 20 minutes on the UPS. When the AC power returns, the relay is manually reset with a pushbutton.
 
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PelletPractitioner

New Member
Oct 4, 2018
96
Connecticut, USA
@Pelleting In NJ

This is exactly what I wanted to accomplish, but I didn't see a way to do it. Latching relay, you say? Do you have any pictures? Were you able to nicely pop the wires off the terminals and fit it in series, or did you have to start cutting and splicing?

So far we haven't needed to run at night or while we're out of the house, so if worst comes to worst I can open all the windows while I start up our emergency generator. Wanted to do an out-and-up venting for the power loss scenario, but I didn't have any space.

Still, your solution is much nicer, and I'd be more tempted if I wasn't scared to destroy my new purchase. : )
 

Pelleting In NJ

Minister of Fire
Sep 26, 2011
547
Central NJ
My Ravelli has a switch on the hopper lid, that interrupts the auger motor. I just unplugged it, and connected the spade terminals to my relay instead. I bet your RV100 also has a hopper lid switch. If you send me your email I can send you a diagram and parts list of what I built. Basically a relay, a pushbutton switch, a small plastic box, and some wire and a line-cord.
 
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jerrieric

Feeling the Heat
Jul 7, 2008
341
Windham Me
I never found the hopper switch to be an issue one putting in pellets in my RV rv100c? The only concern I have with your install is the exit pipe is really close to your white vinyl windows which will probably turn brown after a while from the soot
 

EncoreInMass

Member
Oct 25, 2014
13
Massachusetts
I never found the hopper switch to be an issue one putting in pellets in my RV rv100c? The only concern I have with your install is the exit pipe is really close to your white vinyl windows which will probably turn brown after a while from the soot
My Ravelli has a switch on the hopper lid, that interrupts the auger motor. I just unplugged it, and connected the spade terminals to my relay instead. I bet your RV100 also has a hopper lid switch. If you send me your email I can send you a diagram and parts list of what I built. Basically a relay, a pushbutton switch, a small plastic box, and some wire and a line-cord.
Oh, you're right, it does have a switch on the hopper lid. Will send you a PM.
I just switched to pellets this year from an Encore. I too have a Ravelli RV100 Classic (Black) The lid switch really messed with me the first few times I was adding pellets. As this was my first stove I was kind of slowly adding...trying not to spill..and then BEEP..."Depression alarm"..basically that button runs switch shuts the stove off if you leave the hopper lid open. Using it as an interrupt for shutting down the stove on a power outage is a pretty cool idea. The first time I got that strange italian translation error I was like "Depression???"Now I just push it with my finger once or twice when I'm dumping a full bag in.

@PelletPractitioner how much difficulty did you have with putting the side tiles on? Our stove was installed as part of our purchase and the guy who did the install showed me what a pain in the butt the side tiles are to fit. I wanted to see how they come off in case I have to get in there for any reason. He did the blower set up for us and it's very quiet...especially compared to the floor fans we use to use to move the wood stove heat around.

I bout 2 pallets of La Crete pellets. They had a sale going on here. I tried a few different kinds first. The best were the Northern Warmth Supreme Douglas Fir but it was too expensive to get them delivered where I am. They seemed to leave nothing in the stove...

I noticed with the La Crete's I can go 5 or 6 bags before I need to clean it out. I always get this snow storm of ash settling along the edge of the bottom of the door glass and around the burning pot. It doesn't gunk up anything, just fluffy ash.
M6fWgYp.jpg


I bought an ash vac at Ocean State Job Lot for $60. It works perfectly for this stove. From the moment I hit the shut down until the fire is lit again is 45 min when I do a cleaning but I'm only actually cleaning the stove for 5 min. The rest is cool down/re-ignite.
https://www.oceanstatejoblot.com/turbulenz-fireplace-stove-and-grill-ash-vacuum-cleaner/product/159607
iOFnuot.png


I am presently looking to get a pure sine UPS for the stove so that I can get it on the generator if power goes out. This is really the only practical heat for our house (electric baseboard is $$$$ to run)...Looking for Black Friday/Cyber monday deals on power back ups :)
 

jerrieric

Feeling the Heat
Jul 7, 2008
341
Windham Me
Your ash in the Firebox is normal. I just buy pellets at the cheapest price wherever I can get them Home Depot or Lowe's esetra. Been doing this for about 6 years and I've never seen a reason to go for the expensive stuff. I clean my stove every 4 or 5 days. You will have to remove the tiles at the end of the season to clean out all the ash via the traps. I have a generator and the only thing I don't like about the rv100c is when the power goes out the generator comes on a few minutes later the pellet stove remains off so I have to put it on manually. But I guess I'm a light sleeper cuz when the generator goes on in the middle of the night I wake up. I never had an error code when loading pellets. But I load a 5 gallon bucket of pellets in the basement, bring them up and dump them into the hopper. So hopper door is only open for a few seconds. I store 5 ton of pellets in the basement. I am usually burning pellets over a year old with no issues.
 
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EncoreInMass

Member
Oct 25, 2014
13
Massachusetts
Your ash in the Firebox is normal. I just buy pellets at the cheapest price wherever I can get them Home Depot or Lowe's esetra. Been doing this for about 6 years and I've never seen a reason to go for the expensive stuff. I clean my stove every 4 or 5 days. You will have to remove the tiles at the end of the season to clean out all the ash via the traps. I have a generator and the only thing I don't like about the rv100c is when the power goes out the generator comes on a few minutes later the pellet stove remains off so I have to put it on manually. But I guess I'm a light sleeper cuz when the generator goes on in the middle of the night I wake up. I never had an error code when loading pellets. But I load a 5 gallon bucket of pellets in the basement, bring them up and dump them into the hopper. So hopper door is only open for a few seconds. I store 5 ton of pellets in the basement. I am usually burning pellets over a year old with no issues.
I was wondering today when I was cleaning the stove if there is a user process for cleaning out all the dust that surely must be settling at the bottom of the hopper where the auger feeds. I can't find any user service guides for these beyond the regular cleaning/vacuuming.
You have no issues with cheap pellets? You don't find they burn through quicker or deposit more garbage on the heat exchange tubes/parts? I can tell you when I burned the really nice pellets there was maybe a cup of ash from the entire bag. I find that with these La Cretes I can burn about 6 or 7 bags and then need to empty the ash bin etc. It's about a week right now.
I also find a wet paper towel is great for cleaning off the glass. It works nicely. I really like that when you power off the stove it's cool enough to do whatever you want once that "Final Cleaning" is done.

I am buy a pure sine battery backup for the stove...Probably one of the CyberPower-CP1000PFCLCD battery back ups...Calculations show it should last at least 38 min my stove at 340W. It doesn't list the amps...But I imagine it's only when it's lighting that it's using that much power and the fans/blower/augur might all come in at under 100W. (according to the sticker) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00429N192/?tag=hearthamazon-20 So I could probably get 30 to 45 min...which is enough to shut down or swap it over to the generator if it looks like a long term outage...
 

jerrieric

Feeling the Heat
Jul 7, 2008
341
Windham Me
I have a whole home generator so it turns on automatically if the power goes out. 22kw so it runs everything in my house. When I vacuum my stove every 4 or 5 days I just do it with a brush on the end of my vacuum and take out the Aspen and vacuum all around in that and that's it till the end of the season. I can't see paying 260 or 270 for a ton of pellets when I can get them for 200 or 210 a pallet this year even if it means cleaning a little more ash.
 

EncoreInMass

Member
Oct 25, 2014
13
Massachusetts
I can't see paying 260 or 270 for a ton of pellets when I can get them for 200 or 210 a pallet this year even if it means cleaning a little more ash.
Are the Lowe's/Home Depot pellets soft wood? I know they specifically told me use softwood pellets with this stove..I know with the La Crete's I'm using I'm getting a lot of ash. I paid $6.20 a bag for them. When I tested out a few bags of the Northern Warm Supreme Doug Fir and the Northern Warm Doug Fir they have VERY low ash compared to these La Crete's. But they are waaay more expensive. So if I am getting the same amount of heat with just some more ash I too will do some more cleaning...
 

jerrieric

Feeling the Heat
Jul 7, 2008
341
Windham Me
They are a mix. But their prices have gone up this year they're 259 a ton for the cheapest. That's getting right up there with the dealer I can order them directly from and have them delivered so I'm probably going to go that route tr his spring. I always buy mine after the season's over when the dealers have them and would like to unload them at 10 or $20 less a ton. I really don't think a little extra BTUs you may get from the expensive stuff matters. I burn 4 to 5 ton a season starting this year in October. I burned almost a ton already and am burning 24/7 on setting 69 or 71 power level 5 Ash bin full after 5 days.
 

Pelleting In NJ

Minister of Fire
Sep 26, 2011
547
Central NJ
I find that my Ravelli/Ecoteck does not seem to care whether I burn hardwood or softwood pellets. It also does not seem to be effected by fines in the auger. I think I have vacuumed out the hopper and auger maybe once in 6 years of stove use.
 

Phoenix Hatchling

Minister of Fire
Dec 26, 2012
713
New Fairfield, CT
I bought an ash vac at Ocean State Job Lot for $60. It works perfectly for this stove. From the moment I hit the shut down until the fire is lit again is 45 min when I do a cleaning but I'm only actually cleaning the stove for 5 min. The rest is cool down/re-ignite.
https://www.oceanstatejoblot.com/turbulenz-fireplace-stove-and-grill-ash-vacuum-cleaner/product/159607
View attachment 234034 :)

Ash vac or not, if you are only giving your stove such a short time to shut down prior to vacuuming it out, please be sure to set the vacuum outside on a non-flammable surface afterwards. All too often, people will suck a lit ember up, and it could smolder for many hours prior to catching the vacuum on fire. Rather let it burn out completely and don’t be rushed.
 

EncoreInMass

Member
Oct 25, 2014
13
Massachusetts
Ash vac or not, if you are only giving your stove such a short time to shut down prior to vacuuming it out, please be sure to set the vacuum outside on a non-flammable surface afterwards. All too often, people will suck a lit ember up, and it could smolder for many hours prior to catching the vacuum on fire. Rather let it burn out completely and don’t be rushed.
It's not an ash vac. It's a regular shop vac. I just put some wood chips and paper in the vacuum before I start to insulate it....When I am done I store it next to the oily rags in my garage...

Yes it's an ash vac :)
https://www.oceanstatejoblot.com/turbulenz-fireplace-stove-and-grill-ash-vacuum-cleaner/product/159607
It has all the 'ash vac' requirements.
It gets emptied out into my ash pile as soon as I am done. No sitting around.
Critters LOVE the minerals in the ash pile.

It's interesting because once the stove finishes it's cool down you could reach your hand in the ash bin and there is nothing even close to hot. It feels like a wood stove would after being out for 8 hours. I guess they have the process of the cool down calculated pretty solidly.
 
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